The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda is encouraging citizens to be cooperative as the national census gets underway today.
A team from the NISR is expected to visit Village Urugwiro today to count President Paul Kagame and his family, according to sources from State House.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the national census coordinator at NISR, Prosper Mutijima urged citizens to honestly answer census questionnaire with trust that the information provided is solely to serve national planning efforts.
A total of 2.7 million questionnaires have been prepared for this census.
Wednesday night was the Census Night and people have to remember everyone who spent that night in their homes, including their ages and sex, according to Mutijima.
While family members' profiles will be required, for visitors it's only information about their sex and age alone which will be needed.
Mutijima explained that the two-week activity goes beyond establishing the numerical figure of Rwandans to other development indicators like education, health, employment and housing, among others.
The last census was conducted in 2002, and put the population at 8,128,553. But recent estimates indicated the population had surpassed 11 million.
Mutijima said the census is a culmination of what he called "a number of strenuous and costly activities" and it is important that Rwandans contribute to the national planning process by providing accurate information to questions in the questionnaire.
"We are fully prepared, in logistical and human resource sense. Funds have been provided," he told this newspaper, adding that a total of 24,422 enumerators have been recruited, trained and readied for the exercise.
Mutijima said household listing activity is complete countrywide and urged citizens whose houses have been left out in the exercise to inform their cell leaders.
Part of the preparatory work included mapping of the whole country by opening boundaries of all administrative units and zoning of enumeration areas and in effect a total of 16,715 enumeration zones have been established.
An enumeration zone is the last operational unit of the census activity.
Mutijima said preparatory work began way back in 2010 like the preparation of the project document and budget, mapping; pilot census (to pre-test the systems) and sentisation have been complete.
He said activities relating to preparation, execution and publication of results of the census are set to cost Rwf 6.5 billion.
After enumeration exercise, other census activities like data processing and analysis shall continue, resulting into publication of results in July 2013.
Oscar Bahizi, a development economics expert and a Vice Rector for Finance and Administration at the Law Development Centre, told The New Times that the census feeds well into the ongoing preparation process of EDPRS II by providing the latest information about the population.
He added that it will provide critical information in the planning agenda on key indicators like health and economy.
"It's not about numbers only, but the information and message behind those numbers," he noted.
Due to their costly nature, national censuses tend to be conducted after every 10 years and the last census in Rwanda was held in 2002.